by MTHULISI SIBANDA
SOWETO – VODACOM has decried vandalism and theft of batteries by syndicates in Soweto, South Africa’s biggest township.
The mobile network operator disclosed it had suffered more than 100 cases at its base station sites here since the beginning of the year.
In most cases, the theft has resulted in significant site downtime, leaving entire communities in Soweto with no connectivity.
Officials said this has caused “millions of rands” worth of damage with diesel, power cables, batteries and even radio equipment targeted.
“Incidents of base station vandalism and battery theft have significantly gotten worse since the beginning of the year,” lamented Perumal Moodley, Executive Head for Operations for Vodacom Gauteng.
He said on a daily basis, Vodacom experienced multiple incidents of break-ins in base stations.
“What we are finding through our investigations that this crime is being perpetuated by organised syndicates who are always finding new ways to commit this type of crime.”
The company welcomed harsh sentences, particularly the sentencing to 500 years of a man who stole equipment from mobile phone base stations in the Western Cape.
“The clear message that we want to send to criminals is that if you target our base stations, you will be caught and you will be prosecuted,” Perumal concluded.
– CAJ News